Spiced chicken, spinach and sweet potato stew

Serves: 4

So, between the time of writing this and next Friday (4 days away), Maxy Ashes Beerworth will be born.

A little man destined to make – and break – our lives, at least in the short-term. (The making will be a much longer-term affair though the immediate focus is on the cannonball that will interrupt any concept of sleep, dancing with tequila in the kitchen late at night or eating out on a whim.)

But kids are a long-term game and I am so bloody excited, words do not describe.

But back to the short-term play.

We will need food and at a time when the sous vide and micro herbs probably won’t play a part.

Herein starts a short series of posts dedicated to Maxy, our sanity and eating well.

And this bloody marvelous stew is a great way to kick it off.

It takes a while and I have adjusted the recipe to add a touch more spice – of which you could certainly add more – and I recommend it it without hesitation if your little Maxy is about to enter the world.

Or you just want an awesome, super-healthy stew for lunch.

Seriously, she is good.



1 tbsp olive oil
3 sweet potatoes, cubed
200gm baby spinach, fresh
8 chicken thighs, chopped
500ml chicken stock

Spice mix

2 red onions, chopped
2 red chillis, chopped with seeds
1 tsp paprika
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
400gm can tomatoes
2 preserved lemons, deseeded and chopped

To serve

Pumpkin seeds, toasted

3 preserved lemons, deseeded and chopped
Warmed naan bread


  1. In a food processor, blend all of the spice mix ingredients until very finely chopped.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the spice mix for around 5 minutes until thickened.
  3. Add the chicken and cook until the sauce has thickened.
  4. Add the stock and reduce over a medium heat until thick; an hour at least, likely two. You want a thick stew and the chicken breaking apart.
  5. Meanwhile, boil the sweet potato for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  6. Season the chicken with pepper, add the sweet potato and spinach. Combine for a minute or two.
  7. Serve with coriander, pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of chopped, preserved lemon.

Zuppa Di Pesce (Italian Seafood Stew)

Serves: 4

Mama mia! Every time I have cooked this, it gets better and better. The flavours, the experience, the fun of eating anything that you get to mop up with crusty bread.

The recipe is from Armando Percuoco of Buon Ricordo Restaurant in Paddington, famous for his truffle egg pasta and long lunches.

I swear that if you cook this once, you will cook it again the next weekend, inviting friends around for it.

It looks the part, it tastes so goddam good and it’s fun to share with some salads, maybe some potatoes, some chargrilled asparagus with chilli and garlic and plenty of bread.

No excuses, cook it!


3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
½ cup of olive oil
1 rock cod (250gm) (substitute with leatherjacket)
Blue eye (150gm piece)
Kingfish (150gm piece)
6 mussels (I used 10)
2 baby octopus
8 rings of calamari (obviously, more can be used and I would)
½ Blue Swimmer Crab
8 clams
1 cup of white wine (I used 1 ½ cups)
½ punnet cherry tomatoes (halved)
4 tablespoons chopped Roma tomatoes
1 bunch of Italian parsley, chopped
Sea salt and pepper
Grilled crusty bread to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 180.
  2. In a heavy saucepan or casserole, sauté the garlic in the olive oil until it is just about to go golden.
  3. Add the calamari (and octopus) and toss.
  4. Add the balance of the seafood, and the white wine.
  5. Cook until the white wine has effectively evaporated.
  6. Remove all the seafood except for the calamari (octopus) and add the tomatoes.
  7. Place in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring once.
  8. Add the rest of the seafood, and place in the oven for a further 10 minutes, again stirring once.
  9. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.